Some rain did not deter walkers during the Canberra Walking Festival

By Kaitlyn Watson, University of Canberra intern 2019

The 28th annual Canberra Walking Festival was held during the last weekend of March. The festival welcomed a total of well over 400 participants from 17 different countries including Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, the United States and across Australia. Walk-ins were also accepted over the weekend.

Interstate and Russian walkers

The festival experienced its first rain of its 28 year history, but it did not put a damper on the joyful moods of these determined walkers. Even with dark clouds, chilling winds and first drops of rain on Saturday morning, walkers put on their raincoats and marched out of the doors at Albert Hall, to complete various distances walking around the Canberra region. But everyone was pleased to see the sun come out again on Sunday.

For some, this festival was their first; travelling all the way from places such as Russia to see the wonders of Australia, and choosing to take part in the festival partnered with IML and IVV walking associations.

Others such as the Watson family originally from Wollongong, have been attending this festival for over 19 years. The eldest of this family, first saw this event being advertised in the second year it ran and decided to participate as a family to spend time together and be active. Over the years this family has continued to partake in this event, introducing it to their children.

Watson children displaying their medals accumulated over several years walking

Over the weekend, there was a sense of exhilaration and companionship amongst the many walkers. Old friends being reacquainted at registration and the welcome walk on the Friday, and new friendships formed during the longer walks over the weekend. The excitement on the first day of the festival could be felt throughout the whole of Albert Hall, with many greeting the regular volunteers, taking photos with the international flags and showcasing their various medals, pins and awards received from other festivals and walking events.

This annual festival relies solely on volunteers to run the event. The current committee will continue running the festival next year and then Rotary will take over the reigns in 2021. While some of the regular walkers are unsure about how a change in leadership will influence the event, the committee are confident that the event will evolve and grow under Rotary’s stewardship.

This festival has a significant impact on the tourism sector in Canberra. Not only does it bring various international visitors to the region, but it also advertises and showcases the picturesque scenery Canberra has to offer. If this event were to end, Canberra would lose a significant amount of new and repeat international and domestic visitors.

Lithuanian and Swedish walkers

Hopefully this event will endure into the future and will continue to bring international and domestic tourists to the Canberra region, to enjoy the wonders of the Australian Capital while being active and healthy.

Canberra Walking Festival Internship Experience

by Bradley Timms, University of Canberra Intern 2019

I was lucky enough to participate in an internship with the Canberra Walking Festival of 2019, as part of my ‘Events and Tourism Management’ degree. In this blog post, I will be discussing the benefits of the festival from different aspects including international walkers, walkers from other regions of Australia, Canberra walkers, volunteers and my own experience as an intern.

Throughout my time with the walking festival, I spoke to multiple people from North America and Europe. When I asked those walkers why they decided to travel all the way to Canberra, many of them said that they came purely for the event itself. They spoke about the chances it gave them to experience scenery and landmarks that were completely different to anything they were used to. They also loved how friendly the volunteers and fellow walkers were, which gave them a great opportunity to socialise. For these reasons, I would strongly encourage international walkers to experience the Canberra Walking Festival.

People coming to the festival from other regions of Australia had quite similar motivations for checking out the festival. Many of these walkers just purely loved the joy of walking and this was an opportunity to check out Canberra landmarks in a structured way. Because of this, I recommend Australians come to Canberra for the Walking Festival.

From the local Canberra walkers that I spoke to, a common reason that motivated them to get involved was the socialisation aspect. The chance to meet people from other countries and regions of Australia was a positive experience for them. The festival had even brought international walkers from previous years back multiple times and it was a perfect opportunity to catch up with them again.

Volunteers were a huge part of making the festival run as smoothly and effectively as it did. Some of the benefits of volunteering included the chance to experience the walks before the main participants of the festival, as well as the opportunities to socialise with fellow volunteers and walkers. Many volunteers spoke about how they had been working with the same people at the festival for multiple years. While working on volunteer duties, people still got the chance to socialise with walkers and its for these reasons that I would strongly encourage others to volunteer at the festival.

I decided to participate in the festival as part of my university degree, in order to experience organisation in the lead up to an event, the practices happening during an event as well as the aftermath of an event. I was able to experience all these things through research of the event, collaboration with other volunteers, helping with setup, preparing profiles, marshal activities, registration activities and marketing for future events. While all of this was excellent experience for the events industry, I also achieved many other benefits such as the chance to experience one of the guided walks. Through this, I was able to see many Canberra landmarks which I had never even heard of before. Some of those Landmarks will be shown below. Because I was given many opportunities to experience multiple aspects of what was involved in running an event, I would strongly encourage future university students to participate in this festival as their internship. I would also encourage anyone else in the events and tourism industry to experience the festival through volunteering or as a walker. In conclusion, the main reasons why most people enjoyed the event were the chances to socialise with people from all over the world and to see the landmarks and scenery from Canberra. For me, I received both of those benefits but also got the chance to experience an event in a way that will be helpful for the progression of my degree and career. For all these reasons, I would strongly encourage people to get involved as a walker, a volunteer or as part of a university degree.

Join us for the Canberra Walking Festival in 2020!

80km Bondi Manly Walk

The Sydney Morning Herald recently published an article about developing the 8okm route from Bondi Beach (south of Sydney) to Manly Beach (South of Sydney), passing the iconic Opera House and crossing Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is already possible to walk most of this route, but it is not well signed in places, so we are looking forward to this full route developing further over the next few years.

AussieWalk already has IVV walks that cover part of this area: Spit Bridge to Manly 10km walk and part of our Sydney City 12km route. Plus we extend the walk up to 16km south from Bondi Beach to the Malabar headland. See maps and details on our Permanent Trails page.

Walk the ACT border!

The ACT region of the Conservation Council is offering a walk around the entire 306-kilometre border of the Australian Capital Territory!

A Beginning Saturday, 7 October, the walk will conclude three weeks later, on Saturday, 28 October. This is a fundraising event for the Council and the walk will be led by regional president Rod Griffiths.

If 306K sounds like a bit much, you may choose to walk only part of a day, a whole day or as many days as you would like. Or maybe you’d rather just donate to the cause and follow the blog:

Walk the border ACT: a watershed walk

New AussieWalk Website Goes Live!

The AussieWalk website has had a major overhaul to make it easier to read on multiple platforms. We’ve also updated the site with all the information about the new national AussieWalk IVV organisation. We invite you to have a look around and let us know what you think. You can make comments below (first select the “leave a comment” link above to open the comment box), or on our AussieWalk Facebook page, or via email. You can also sign up to our news emails on our Contact page.

We expect there will be a few gremlins as we get accustomed to the new technology, so if you experience any problems with the new site please let us know.



A history of the world in 500 walks

Are you looking for a new travel destination in 2017? Do you enjoy history? Then A history of the world in 500 walks by Sarah Baxter might be the book for you.

This compilation is divided into six periods of time: Prehistory — the Ancient World — the Middle Ages — Towards the Modern World — 19th century — 20th century. There are walks that take minutes and walks that take months.

The work is indexed by country, by location and by walk name, making it easy to use.

Over 30 public libraries in Australia own this title, according to the National Library’s TROVE database.

Sun exposure and vitamin D

According to a media release posted on the Cancer Council Australia website this past weekend, “[n]ew recommendations published today (31/1) by national peak health bodies aim to provide clearer and simpler advice to Australians on how they can balance the need for sun protection to reduce skin cancer risk with maintaining healthy vitamin D levels for optimal health.”

Position statement – Sun exposure and vitamin D – risks and benefits